Monday, 20 September 2010

Lucia's Beef Rolls and Caponata

Yesterday was a busy Sunday for me.  I was working till half past 2 then I had to go to my parents to pick up the bottle of Camel Valley Bacchus they had kindly bought for us while on holiday in Cornwall.  It got to about half past 5 and all this time I couldn't wait to get back home and try the recipe we had been planning all week.  For our Sunday dinner we only had to look as far as fellow food blogger Lucia and her wonderful Simply Italian Food.

Braciole Napoletane al Sugo (Beef Rolls the Neapolitan Way)

We had decided to try the Beef Rolls (the Neapolitan way).  See the link for Lucia's recipe but I will attempt to talk you through how we did it.

First we laid out the beef.  We bought Steak Sizzlers as they seemed to be about the right shape for rolling (more about that later)

Then we spread all the ingredients as per Lucia's instruction.  This included: garlic, Parmesan, pine nuts and chopped parsley

We then seasoned them, rolled them up and secured the rolls with cocktail sticks
These were then sealed in a hot pan with good olive oil - done in batches as it was less stressful

The rolls were returned to the pan and to it we added tomato puree and passata and left to simmer for an hour

We were very hungry as it was Sunday dinner so we served this with some gluten-free spaghetti and a side portion of warm Caponata.  For the Caponata we went back to the brilliant Jamie's Italy.  We cooked his Caponata as per the recipe except instead of herb vinegar we used red wine vinegar from Kenyon Hall Farm.

For this you will need:

2 Aubergines (large chunks)
1 Teaspoon Dried Oregano
Salt and Pepper
1 Small Red Onion
2 Cloves Garlic
Small Bunch Flat Leaf parsley - separated and chopped
2 Tablespoons of drained and rinsed salted capers
Handful Green Olives - stones removed
3 Tablespoons of Herb Vinegar (or red wine vinegar)
5 Large Ripe Tomatoes

This is a very easy stew cooked in stages and simmered for 20 mins - half an hour.  Jamie recommended less oil and less cooking time then we prefer so we kept Olive Oil on hand to keep the dish moist as we went along.  We were trying to get a consistency similar to that which we had in Carluccio's recently which was completely cooked down and shimmering in oil.  We made quite a lot so some is in the fridge to eat as a cold antipasto later in the week.

First, brown the Aubergine all over in a hot pan with a few glugs of Olive Oil and after five minutes or so, add the red onion, garlic and parsley stalks

Then add the capers, olives and vinegar
When the vinegar has evaporated add the chopped tomatoes, season and cook for about half an hour or to the consistency you prefer

Serve it warm with some parsley and some more olive oil drizzled over the top

This was a great meal, rather filling and very satisfying for what should be the best meal of the week in my opinion.  During this time Fran also made another Fritata so it was quite an epic hour or so for the more relaxed cooks among us!! 

Beef Rolls: First of all, thank you to Lucia for providing such a great recipe.  I must admit we were intrigued by the simplicity of the tomato sauce but perhaps the beauty of the dish is that the meat is flavoured rather than the sauce making it an altogether more subtle dish.  There are a couple of things to bear in mind - which we will think about next time we try this dish - and that is to think about the quality of the meat.  In hindsight we wished we had bought better meat from the butcher as the steak we used became a little tough in the cooking process.  Or maybe we should have tenderised it a little with a hammer before cooking.  Lucia - perhaps you can let me know what cut you used?
Also, as Lucia quite rightly pointed out - the Parsley is very important.  We probably didn't put enough in (and we were warned) as were were saving some for the Caponata.  This may have been to the detriment of the flavours and we will learn from our mistakes.  To summarise though: a great recipe with fantastic flavours - just make sure you use a good quality meat and plenty of Parsley (as Lucia suggests)!

The Caponata was great too.  It needed cooking longer than the recipe says in our opinion and make sure the capers are well rinsed as although it was ok on acidity any more vinegar would have taken it a bit too far I felt.

1 comment:

  1. oh wowww :):)
    you really made them! hehehe They look quote good!
    Indeed probably the meat was the wrong cut, what is used in Italy is generally 'scamone' cut (rump in England I think) or even viel (baby caw, but I know it's very difficult to find it in Uk). What I can suggest, if you liked the taste but don't have the right meat cut is to use thin cut beef (like the one I used for mine) or cook them in a pressure cook for a while before reducing the sauce, it should work!

    I am really honoured you followed my recipe, it's a very old tradition in Italy dating centuries ago :) Thank you again!

    and...that caponata looks delicious too! You inspired me to make some for this week!